Tag Archives: Family Forest National Treasure Edition

Texas Heroes and Google Books

I’d like to share a fascinating ancestral history gem I discovered at Google Books this week. 

It involves early Texas heroes, and the essence of it has now been digitally lineage-linked in the Family Forest® to a more recent national hero from Texas. Literally millions of people, including probably you (I know I am one of them), relate to this story through their own family ties. 

Audie Murphy was a national hero from Texas, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. His biography, No Name on the Bullet, mentions that his family tree included such men as one of his great-grandfathers, John Berry, but gives no identifying details about John Berry or what he did. So I turned to Google Books in search of answers.

I found more than I was hoping for. It was hidden in a book from 1900 by A. W. Sowell titled Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas. 

Within a six-page section about John Berry’s wife (titled Mrs. Hannah Berry) are details about who he was, what he did, and in particular the noteworthy service he performed for Davy Crockett shortly before the Alamo. But it was a statement about his wife, also an ancestor of Audie Murphy, which caught my attention. 

While she was still alive, Grandma Berry is said to have had “seventy-four grandchildren that she knows of, and one hundred and twenty-four great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.” 

We now know what the author A. W. Sowell could not know; a half century later, Grandma Berry would become an ancestor of at least one Hollywood actor, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. 

How many thousands (tens of thousands?) of living descendants might Grandma Berry have now, a full century after she finished her historically eventful and productive life in Texas at the age of 91? How many of her descendants do not yet know of their own family ties to her, the Alamo, and Audie Murphy?

The National Treasure Hunt begins in Texas. See for yourself.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Audie Murphy, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family Trees, Genealogy, Google, history, Hollywood, National Treasure, Texas, World War II

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

After enjoying watching Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant in this movie, we tried one of the really cool features of our new Roots Magic program. We asked if it could create a Relationship Chart in the Family Forest® between the two co-stars. 

Almost instantly a chart appeared showing generation-by-generation exactly how Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are distant cousins. They share ancestors in the Family Forest®. Who would have guessed? (Well, maybe those who read our last Sarah Jessica Parker blog.

And there are other surprising family ties from “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” as well. Although Mary Steenburgen’s ancestry is not in the Family Forest® yet, the ancestry of her husband Ted Danson (subject of my favorite ancestral coincidences [or not?] story is. So through marriage, Mary is related to both Hugh and Sarah Jessica.  

But the bigger and better story than how these three stars are related is about how so many individual fans are related to one or more of them through their own family ties. 

We’re looking forward to sharing these fun connections with more Family Forest® customers personally.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Hollywood, Mary Steenburgen, National Treasure, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ted Danson, Who Do You Think You Are

Independence Day 2010

The Fourth of July always triggers many fun memories from childhood and later years that I cherish.

Yet I can’t help but wonder how much better those memories might have been, and how much more I would have paid attention in school, if it hadn’t taken more than 40 years to discover that I am personally connected through generation-by-generation family ties to the original Fourth of July and the struggle for American independence.

My wish is that our future leaders experience this enriching discovery while they are still in school, that this knowledge is given to them early enough in their life to make a meaningful impact in their lives and the lives of their families.

That is why the American Revolution has continued to be one of the top five focus areas of Family Forest® growth during the last 15 years.

It is also why we say that the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition can connect more people through family ties to more of the people, places, and events in American history than any other digital resource, either online or offline.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Filed under American Revolution, Ancestors, Ancestry, Family Forest National Treasure, Fourth of July, Genealogy, Independence Day

Twilight and the White House

Thanks to Tamura Jones for pointing out in his article The Dracula Connection about the Ancestry.com story that the Family Forest National Treasure does what Ancestry.com cannot.

Vlad the Impaler, the person some people believe the character of Count Dracula is based on, is in the Family Forest® (PIN 562175), and unlike the misleading chart Ancestry.com used to illustrate their story (it’s actually missing many generations), Vlad’s Family Forest® charts can be explored generation-by-generation.

Anyone with the National Treasure can click on him, and request a 20-generation descendant chart. What leaps out to me on this chart is that one of Vlad the Impaler’s descendants was born in the White House!

If you click on Vlad the Impaler’s father Vlad the Devil (PIN 562178) and request a 20-generation descendant chart, you can see ancestral pathways that leads to the British Royal Family, the White House, actress Sarah Miles, and one of the people Madonna will be directing in her new movie, without skipping generations as Ancestry.com does.

And you can click here to see Ancestors-at-at-glance™ charts of some of the people in the Ancestry.com story.

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Filed under Ancestral History, Ancestry, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Twilight, Uncategorized, White House

Early Long Island Ancestors of Celebrities in the National Treasure

A friend of ours is going to be exploring Long Island for the first time, and he asked if there was anything he could do to help spread the word about the Family Forest® Project while he was there. Some of you may enjoy knowing what I found when I explored in the National Treasure Edition for early Long Island ancestors and some of their notable descendants. You can see Ancestors-at-a-glanceÔ for many of those descendants listed below.

Samuel Blakeman PIN 107577: Matthew Fox, Jodie Foster  

Richard Borden PIN 284620: Tennessee Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Lizzie Borden, Lana Turner, Willie Nelson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Christopher Van Hollen, Jr.  

William Bowne PIN 26736: President Abraham Lincoln, Senator Gary Hart

Alan Breed PIN 290857: David Hyde Pierce, Paul Giamatti, Vice President Dick Cheney  

Ensign Thomas Cornell PIN 246157: President Jimmy Carter, President Richard Nixon, Senator Bob Graham, Richard Henry Dana, Kyra Sedgwick, Edie Sedgwick, Marilyn Monroe, Lizzie Borden, Bill Gates, Senator John Kerry, Betty Grable  

John Hand PIN 502015: Frank Lloyd Wright, Anne Baxter, Ron Howard, Julie Bowen  

Barnabas Horton PIN 46455: Senator John Kerry, Jane Wyman, Patrick and Don Swayze, William Holden  

Thomas Lawrence PIN 331577: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt  

Captain William Lawrence PIN 98130: Christopher Reeve  

Judge Matthias Nicholls PIN 129015: Michael Douglas, Governor William Weld  

Louris Jansen Op Dyke PIN 504326: Shirley Maclaine, Warren Beatty  

Thomas Sayre PIN 43327: Jane, Peter, and Bridget Fonda, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Admiral Dennis Blair, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Dina Merrill, Winston Churchill, Howard Dean  

Captain John Seaman PIN 327807: Clint Eastwood  

Lawrence Southwick PIN 281365: Winston Churchill, President Richard Nixon 

Lieutenant Nicholas Stillwell PIN 257162: Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, Howard Hughes, Sonny Whitney (financier of Gone with the Wind), Anderson Cooper  

Dr. John Stites PIN 267240: Howard Hughes  

Thomas Talmadge PIN 62628: Dwayne Shattuck, Ernest Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway, Archibald Cox  

Captain Thomas Tappin PIN 119700: Cole Porter  

John Thompson PIN 284749: Lee Remick 

William Thorne PIN 43859: Sonny Whitney, Anderson Cooper, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator John Kerry, Betty Grable  

Robert Titus PIN 307171: Senator John Kerry 

Thomas Tobey PIN 274652: Raquel and Tahnee Welch 

Edward Treadwell or Tredwell PIN 43924: Steve Forbes  

Henry Tuthill PIN 17075: President Jimmy Carter, Elvis 

Captain Jan Thomasse Van Dyke PIN 43769: Vice President Hobart, Garry Trudeau, Oliver Platt, Maude Adams, Molly Ringwald, Paris and Nicky Hilton 

William Washburne PIN 523573: Senator Bob Dole, Ron Howard, Kevin Bacon, Senator John Kerry, President Richard Nixon, Johnny Carson, Walter P. Chrysler, Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, Edwin Hubble 

Hon. Edward Howell PIN 46500: Jane, Peter, and Bridget Fonda, Howard Dean, Dick Clark, J.P. Morgan, Governor John D. Rockefeller IV

Daniel Whitehead PIN 559319: Sonny Whitney, Anderson Cooper

Thomas Whitney PIN 328293: Norman Rockwell, Mike Huckabee, both Presidents Bush, Bill Gates

Robert Williams PIN 523617: Senator Bob Dole, Ron Howard, Kevin Bacon

Barnabas Wines, Jr. PIN 327229: Jane Wyman, Patrick and Don Swayze, President Gerald Ford

Joris/George Woolsey PIN 352095: Senator John Kerry, Bill Gates 

Peter Wright PIN 5134: Elvis, Howard Dean 

Are you surprised that Long Island’s early settlers fathered offspring who would leave their marks so deeply etched in America’s culture and our history? To us, it is not surprising at all. We have daily access to the world’s most interconnected family history research tool: the Family Forest National Treasure Edition which, incidentally, is available online as a download.  Also, some of your ancestors probably have celebrity descendants, and you may want to check our website for our hundreds of ancestral history eBook titles with prices starting as low as $5.95.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Long Island, National Treasure

Virkus Clarification and Correction

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Virkus’ The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy (later The Compendium of American Genealogy) should know what it is and what it isn’t, what’s wrong with it, and if there are any redeeming qualities.

In short, you should know the truth about it, and far more importantly, what’s been done to it recently since it was published more than a half century ago. 

This massive work in seven volumes, published over a decade and a half between the 1920’s and the 1940’s, maps out verbally an enormously large swath of generation-by-generation American family history over basically a three century period. 

Despite the potential ancestral history value that promises, and the fact that it is the one genealogy resource that can be found in most libraries, conventional wisdom these days says that it should be avoided like the plague. 

It has been known for a long time that it contains many errors, but I’ve never seen anyone quantify that statement. Is it 30% errors? 40%? 50%? The much lower answer may surprise you. 

But what if the correct answer was that it contains 50% errors? That would mean that one out of every two statements or dates is wrong. 

The glass-half-empty thinkers will say this massive genealogy resource is useless. The glass-half-full thinkers will say “Wow! Wouldn’t it be great if we knew which half of this massive genealogy resource is correct?” 

Highly respected genealogist Donald Lines Jacobus said about it “because of the high proportion of known errors, conscientious genealogists do not use statements in this work without verification.” 

“It is often a useful reference work for those who know how to use it properly” he went on to say. 

Suppose a conscientious person with Mensa-level intelligence spent 15 years digitally indexing, in lineage-linked format, the Virkus collection along with hundreds of other books and periodicals, filtering out annoying and confusing duplication, error checking each entry against everything else that had been previously entered, and connecting them to each other wherever appropriate? 

There’s no need to imagine the enormous upgrade in quality and usability that has already happened to Virkus’ massive work (as well as to hundreds of other books and periodicals, including many from NEHGS and NYGBR). Just explore for yourself in the National Treasure.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Compendium of American Genealogy, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, National Treasure

The Heart of Bruce

No, this is not going to be a story about my own heart, but it is about a very memorable story, at least for me, concerning the heart of one of my ancestors. 

Almost every day I enter many facts into the Family Forest®. There are over 900,000 source citations in the National Treasure, so it’s safe to assume that I can’t remember many of them. But a few of them evoke a powerful visual image that stays with me. This is about one of them. 

Do you remember Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland [PIN 7910] from Braveheart? When he died, two of his companions in arms, Sir James Douglas, Lord of Galloway [PIN 29237] (known in Scotland as “the good Sir James Douglas” and in England as “the Black Douglas”) and William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn [PIN 29273] (remember Rosslyn Chapel from “The Da Vinci Code”?), set out on a mission to take the heart of Bruce to Jerusalem. 

This was a vivid image to me, reminiscent of Brad Pitt taking his brother’s heart home in Legends of the Fall, and Brooke Shields feeling the need to touch the container of her ancestor’s heart in Who Do You Think you Are? 

I wondered who these two great warriors were who would undertake such an unusual mission for their friend and king. So I clicked on “the Black Douglas” and asked for an 8-generation descendant view (the default setting) in the National Treasure. 

His descendant who caught my attention was Lord William Sinclair [PIN 29306] who died in 1570. I knew the surname Sinclair is a derivation of St. Clair, so I was curious to find out if this descendant of “the Black Douglas” was also a descendant of the companion of “the Black Douglas,” William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn.  

So I reversed direction by asking for a 10-generation ancestor view (the default setting). Sure enough, Lord William Sinclair is a descendant of both of them. More surprisingly, he is also a descendant in five different lines of Robert the Bruce.

So two centuries earlier two of his ancestors set out on a mission to take the heart of another one of his ancestors to Jerusalem. Who was this guy with the colorful ancestral heritage? 

I asked for a 20-generation descendant view (to reach down to present day) and I was really surprised this time. In one of the 941 boxes this chart filled in was my name! According to recorded history, it is one of my own ancestors who has this colorful ancestral heritage. He is also an ancestor of Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson, Winston Churchill, Montgomery Clift, The Thornbirds star Rachel Ward, Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Madonna’s son Rocco Ritchie. 

P.S. I hope I will be forgiven for not recognizing some of my own ancestors, as my own 40-generation ancestor view chart in the National Treasure fills in 3,074,306 boxes with the names of some of my ancestors.

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Filed under Ancestral History, Braveheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, King Robert I of Scotland